INVITATION and READING
What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a Shepherd
I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart. (In the Bleak Midwinter, st. 6)
John 1: 1-5, 14
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Gloria in excelsis Deo – Glory to God in the highest!
I recently read a Facebook post from a church member describing how their Christmas Eve was not the traditional busy routine, but rather a simpler, quieter one spent at home. The expression of feeling even closer to the incarnate Jesus this year, and in this simpler way, was so heart-felt.
I think many of us may have shared a similar experience. For me, it felt like not seeing as much of the beautiful decorations and Christmas lights all around allowed me to see more readily the light of Christ being sparked anew within me. And so, as we are given the gift of sharing our spiritual connection with each other, even in times of isolation, we greet the new-born King with praise and gratitude – for Christ came to shatter the darkness of our lives and of the world!
A good reflection on this simpler, quieter Christmas is beautifully expressed in the carol “In the Bleak Midwinter” (UMH #221). The poem entitled “A Christmas Carol” was written by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), and was first published in January 1872 issue of Scribner’s Monthly. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_the_Bleak_Midwinter#Darke) Last week’s hymn reflection “Love Came Down at Christmas” was also penned by this wonderful English poet.
This poem has been set to music many times with two of the most famous settings composed by Gustav Holst and Harold Darke in the early 20th century. The tune we sing from our hymnal is CRANHAM by Gustav Holst (1874-1934). Our hymnal includes five of the six stanzas, but our recording includes them all.
Please enjoy reading from the original publication of “A Christmas Carol” (below) as you listen and meditate:
Dear God, thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, to live among us, and to bring light to our broken world. Thank you for allowing us to see and feel His light more than ever this Christmas season. We pray that the spark you have kindled in our hearts will become radiant beacons of your love that we must share in all we do and say.
We give you our hearts this day and always, Amen.
Offered by Joche Wilmot, Director of Music Ministries